Navigating the World of Sober Living
So, you’re coming to the end of residential addiction treatment, and the time has come to plan what comes next. Even when not actively addicted, people in recovery sometimes feel impulses to use again for months or years and making good use of the skills you’ve learned in treatment may seem like a daunting prospect.
Sober Living homes exist to help with this stage of your recovery journey. These group residences are for people recovering from addiction who share one important house rule – residents are expected to stay sober.
You may have heard of a halfway house before, and these pose a similar concept. Halfway houses refer to substance-free shared homes; however, unlike sober living homes, they are associated with treatment programs. This means that they have limited time stays and may require that you attend a specific substance treatment program. The choice between a sober living house and a halfway house will depend on your particular needs and goals.
What to Expect
Sober living requires residents to stay sober during their stay (and encourage it forever after). Beyond that, these homes are diverse in exactly what they demand from their residents. Generally speaking, there are some trends and rules you can expect should you choose to stay at one:
- A completely substance-free environment, often including things like alcohol-based cleaners, mouthwash, and vanilla extract. (Some houses have exceptions to this rule for specific prescription medications such as antidepressants).
- Being home by a certain time.
- Going to work, school, or job-seeking during the day.
- Participating in house meetings and chores.
- Attending 12-step programs.
- Undergoing drug tests during residence.
Each house will have its own nuanced set of policies, so ask each recovery home that interests you what to expect from them in particular. Many houses apply deterrents such as eviction, fines, or additional work when residents break the rules.
Why Choose a Sober Living Home?
There are many reasons why sober living may be a good fit for you. Sober living homes primarily promote lasting recovery by easing reintegration into normal life during the still-critical early months of sobriety.
When you stay in a substance-free household, it helps to eliminate the potential of relapse and replaces it with a community of people who understand and support your journey.
Sober living also often provides routine. When transitioning back into everyday life, this is an important aspect in keeping you on the right path.
This lifestyle can also be helpful for people in outpatient programs. Sober living provides an in-between option for those who don’t require a residential program but still want to benefit from a focused substance-free environment during care.
Factors in an Effective Program
Before you sign up for a sober living program, you need to ensure that what they offer is a good fit for you. You will want to ask quite a few questions before you agree to a specific plan.
It is absolutely necessary that you feel safe during your time in sober living. Make sure you feel comfortable in the neighborhood you will be staying in and that you have your own private space in the house you move into.
Find out what the house policy is in the event of relapse. Some sober living facilities immediately evict residents who relapse or have overly vague rules about the consequences. Most people will benefit from supportive policies that are clear-cut both about prevention and response (for example, referring residents to medical detox or therapeutic services).
Level of Support
Many houses will offer extra support in your recovery journey, including therapeutic counseling, legal or employment advice, and structured group support. In some houses, meetings also have a 12-step philosophy and encourage group recovery.
Contact Enlightened Solutions Detox
If you’re struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, Enlightened Solutions Detox is a rehab center based in New Jersey, providing everything from inpatient detox to outpatient therapy. We focus on healing the whole person, and we customize clients’ treatment plans to suit their specific needs. At ES Detox, we help our clients create plans for when they graduate from our program, and if desired, we will help them navigate and refer them to sober residences that fit their needs. For more information about our program, contact us today at 833-233-7336.